Movie Review: Kingsman – The Golden Circle

I rarely go into movies cold.  I have usually read a review or two, seen a couple of trailers, and have a general idea of what I’m getting into based off the director’s previous work.  A few years ago, I went to see Kingsman after coming back from a deployment – I hadn’t seen any trailers, reviews, or even knew who the director was when I bought a ticket.  I just knew I wanted to go see a movie that day.

I was delighted by the film.  Matthew Vaughn had tapped into the irreverent energy and anarchic ‘anything goes’ vibe from Kick-Ass and created a stylish over-the-top movie of gentlemen spies in a modern era.  It was a great coming of age story with sly winks at the screen, violence as slapstick, and buoyed by impossibly cool performances from all involved.  I knew when it was over I wanted to see more Kingsman adventures.

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Two of these three statements are unfortunately true.

Unfortunately, I no longer have that feeling because the follow-up Kingsman:  The Golden Circle was awful.

This inferior sequel should have worked.  The Director was the same and it is buoyed by a strong cast:  Colin Firth, Pedro Pascal, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong – this should have been a slam dunk but between the insipid story and the bizarre performances, it drops dead on the floor early on and pretty much stays there.  Colin Firth and Taron Egerton brought none of their chemistry forward from the first film.  Julianne Moore tries hamming it up but the otherwise outstanding actress just comes across as clownish.  Pedro Pascal – a big draw for the ladies – demonstrates none of the charisma which is his signature.  Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, and Channing Tatum are wasted.  Only Mark Strong demonstrates any sort of presence in this otherwise dim film.

Oh, I like Elton John but keep him the hell out of movies if you can’t find a better use for him than this crap.

It may seem like I hate this film and you would be right – I had high hopes and I was very disappointed.  It didn’t have to be this way and I for the life of me can’t figure out how they screwed up so bad.  Even the trademark irreverence from the first film was absent – so absent that it linked a key plot point in the film to what amounts to a sexual assault.  The first film would have made such a thing work and had me laughing – the second film just left me uncomfortable and repulsed by it.

Ultimately, I just want to forget this movie exists.  I suggest you save your time and money for something else more worthwhile.

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